Specifically, it is expanding the possibilities of how the employer can contribute to the meals of its employees. In addition to the options used so far, namely, to provide meals in the company canteen and via so-called meal vouchers, employers will also be able to contribute to employees' meals in cash in the form of a so-called monetary contributions for meals. It can be stated that materially, it is not a completely new legal institute, as even up until now employers could contribute to their employees' meals in the form of a cash contribution. However, such contribution - like any other remuneration for work - was subject not only to personal income tax but also to social and health insurance on the side of both the employee and the employer, and was therefore not a particularly attractive benefit, on either side.
Although the operation of a company canteen and the provision of meal vouchers bring certain tax benefits, many employers have not yet used any meal allowance for their employees, either because they do not have space for canteen or the administrative burden associated with meal vouchers is excessive.
Since the monetary contribution for meals is, by its nature, much closer to meal vouchers than to the operation of one's own company canteen which requires not only premises, but also labour force, let's look at the tax implications it will bring in comparison with the meal vouchers. In the following section, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both options in practical examples.
In the beginning, we would like to remind you about the amount of the meal allowance, from which the limits influencing the tax impacts of meal vouchers and monetary contributions for meals are derived. The maximum amount of the meal allowance, i.e. its upper limit for a business trip lasting 5 to 12 hours, set for employees in the public sphere, and thus receiving a state funded salary, is CZK 103 in 2020 and CZK 108 in 2021.
The value of meal vouchers is exempt from tax on the side of the employee, and thus also from social security and health insurance contributions, regardless of the limit.
On the other hand, for employers, it is a tax-deductible expense up to 55% of the value of the meal voucher (however, up to a maximum of 70% of the amount of the meal allowance, as stated above).
If the employer decides to contribute a higher amount to the meal vouchers, such an amount above the limit would represent tax exempt income on the side of the employee, but on the other hand, it would be a tax non-deductible expense for the employer.
If the employer contributes to the meal voucher in the amount of 55% of its value, the remaining 45% of the value is usually paid by the employee, resp. the corresponding amount is deducted from their salary. Thanks to this, the most tax-optimal value of the meal voucher in 2021 is CZK 137.
The principle of tax advantage for the monetary contribution for meals is different from that applied for the meal vouchers. On the side of the employee, this is an exempt income up to 70% of the amount of the meal allowance, as stated above. Amounts exceeding this threshold must be taxed on the side of the employee and as well as subject to the social and health insurance.
On the side of the employer, it will be a tax-deductible expense in full amount, regardless of the limit.
In the table below, you can find a comparison of the total costs on the side of the employer and the net benefit on the side of the employee, with different amounts of contributions:
Type of contribution
Monetary contribution for meals
70% of the meal allowance (limit)
Lunch / meal voucher value
Contribution of employer
(55% value of the lunch / meal voucher)
Contribution of employee
(45% value of the lunch / meal voucher)
The tax burden on the side of employer
corporate income tax
SHI payable by the employer
The tax burden on the side of employee
personal income tax
SHI payable by the employee
Expense of employer
Net benefit for employee
If you are considering which option is the most advantageous for your company, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to perform a comparison based on your specific requirements and conditions and help you to set the new rules.
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